Postcards from Europe

Arts Project Australia is currently surveying the sights in Europe, looking at the art displayed across La Biennale di Venezia, documenta 14 and Skulptur Projekte Muenster. Read below for our take on the exhibitions and have a look at our ‘Postcards from Europe’. 

The Boat is leaking the captain lied, Thomas Demand Fondazione, Prada, Venice.

The Boat is leaking the captain lied, Thomas Demand, Fondazione, Prada, Venice.

 

There have already been many reviews written on the La Biennale di Venezia, documenta 14 and Skulptur Projekte Muenster that you can easily access and read online and in print. So, the aim here is not to replicate what critics have written—positive or negative. Instead, it’s a chance to reflect on some of the work that we think stood out while in Europe–whether they’ve been singled out as “pavilions and works to see” or not. It’s also an excellent opportunity to let all of our friends know that Arts Project Australia was there: amongst it, seeing what’s happening internationally, and soaking it all in!  

We are very fortunate in Australia that our vibrant arts community supports and promotes new work by countless talented artists. Following our little sojourn to Europe, it seems safe to say that Australian artists and the artists at Arts Project Australia sit well within the broader global landscape too. We just need to get more work over there. To quote one of Arts Project’s most enthusiastic art lovers and supporters, Norman Rosenblatt, “Our artists are good as anything you’ll see overseas.” And you know what, he is right.  

During our travels, we couldn’t help but think that at any moment we’d turn a corner and see a name from back home. And we did, occasionally. It would have been unsurprising to see more Australian artists sitting amongst the extensive list of artists represented—regardless of whether they are “known” overseas. Of the 160 artists at Documenta, only three were Australian (Bonita Ely, Gordon Hookey and Dale Harding). 

In fact, a decent number of the artists and artworks currently exhibited in the “trifecta” of major shows are by lesser-known artists and, overall, the work presented is diverse and relatively invigorating. Unknown artists effortlessly sit alongside their well-known contemporaries and it’s been great to see—it keeps things interesting and, as a consequence, it makes art more accessible. Not in the spoon-fed kind of way, but more in the sense that these highly regarded art events can offer more diverse and varied perspectives. As a consequence, this approach avoids a “same-old, same-old” repetitive veneer. 

A real highlight towards the end of the trip was when we caught up with Dr Thomas Roeske, Director of the Prinzhorn Collection in Kassel and then again in Heidelberg at his museum. He introduced us to Christiane Cuticchio at Atelier Goldstein in Frankfurt, who runs a fabulous supported studio where the artists are creating incredible, in-depth and conceptually engaging work. Walking into their studio felt like coming home. Atelier Goldstein also has several artists featured in The Museum of Everything exhibition at MONA, including Hans Jörg Georgi (Planes), Julia Krause-Harder (Dinosaur Sculptures) and Julius Bockelt (Drawings). We’ll try and share images from these encounters in a separate blog post.

So, presented here is a collection of images that we are calling our ‘Postcards from Europe’. These were snapped on the phone while walking through the pavilions in Venice, the art hubs in Kassel, and the streets of Muenster.   

It’s a small sample of the incredible artworks and installations that we experienced and that stood out from the 100s of artists represented. We hope you enjoy!